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Archive for June, 2010

Miyamoto: We Need New Game Characters Soon

June 30th, 2010 No comments

Nintendo made a splash with fans at E3 by unveiling new versions of their beloved franchises but revealed very little in the way of new properties. That may be about to change. According to Japan's Sankei Newspaper, when asked about Nintendo's "next game" at a June 29 Nintendo stockholders meeting, Shigeru Miyamoto replied, "We need new game characters soon, maybe we can move forward on that next year."

At the same meeting, when discussing Apple and the iPad, one stockholder brought up the possibility of Nintendo producing software for the device when he asked, "Other companies are continuously bringing out interesting devices. What about supporting them with Nintendo software?"

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata responded, "Nintendo's software and hardware are the same thing. Other companies don't share Nintendo's values or traditions when it comes to creating devices. We are absolutely not thinking of doing that."


Nintendo Love Tester back on the market after 41 years

June 30th, 2010 No comments

Nintendo Love Tester back on the market after 41 years screenshot

Nintendo's legendary history has only been integral to videogames for a relatively short time, and pretty much everything they sold before the mid-eighties was quirky plastic playthings, playing cards and the occasional bit of software. One such Nintendo offering from 1969 is the Nintendo Love Tester.

This device is simple. A sweetly paired couple will come together to test their love, and each partner will grab one of the silver balls, and then embrace. Gotta get the blood pumping somehow. Anyway, once the action starts, The Love Tester measures stuff like sweat and all that, and the little needle will "scientifically" declare if they are meant for each other. This little device was designed by the creator of the Game Boy, Gunpei Yokoi, and will probably go down as one of Nintendo's weirder devices.

Even more weird is that the device is being sold again. Four decades out of commission, the Love Tester, in nearly the original packaging and design, is available now. That's 55 bucks worth of Nintendo nostalgia, but for many fans, I'm sure this will be worth price. While it's not 100 percent clear that this is an officially sanctioned remake from Nintendo, it sure as hell is good enough. Now someone needs to mod this sucker and make something interesting out of it.

[Source: Technabob via Gizmodo; Image source: Handheld Museum]

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Aliens vs. Predator gets Bughunt Map Pack DLC July 7

June 30th, 2010 No comments
The problem with the struggle between the Aliens and Predators is that both are pretty equally matched: Predators have a lot of technology and stand about 200 feet tall (give or take a couple hundred feet), while Aliens have greater numbers and acidic blood that could eat through a truckload of fruitcake in milliseconds. Humans have -- uh, actually, we just have soft, fertile bodies and aesthetically-pleasing skull shapes. Talk about your bum deals, right?

But for those who like to roleplay as one of the aforementioned extraterrestrial species, know that Sega is deploying some DLC for Aliens vs. Predator in the form of the Bughunt Map Pack. Available on July 7, the DLC adds 4 brand new maps: two for Deathmatch, Predator Hunt, Infestation, Species Deathmatch, Mixed Species Deathmatch and Domination, and two for the game's Survival mode -- each featuring new environmental hazards and weather effects. The new maps are called "Crash Site," "Furious," "Tempest" and "Monument"

Look for the Bughunt Map Pack on July 7 on PSN, Xbox Live and Steam for $6.99 (560 Microsoft points). If you're looking for something a bit more on the free side, then check out the stills in our gallery below and click past the break for a teaser trailer.

Continue reading Aliens vs. Predator gets Bughunt Map Pack DLC July 7

JoystiqAliens vs. Predator gets Bughunt Map Pack DLC July 7 originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 01 Jul 2010 01:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Amazon launches cheaper Kindle DX e-book reader with better display

June 30th, 2010 No comments

Amazon launched the latest generation of its Kindle DX e-book reader with a higher-contrast display than the last version and a lower price of $379.

The previous model of the Kindle DX, which has a 9.7-inch screen, cost $489. All Kindle DXs come with free 3G wireless access and no annual contracts or data plan costs. Amazon has targeted the Kindle DX at people who want to be able to see the clearest text and sharpest (black-and-white) images on its electronic ink display. The contrast for this DX model is 50 percent better than the previous model, which was launched a year ago.

The new Kindle DX is available for preorder now and ships July 7. The move to improve the Kindle DX shows that the Seattle-based company wants to be competitive in the e-book reader market, where Apple has made a big splash with its multipurpose iPad device.

Now the company says you’ll be able to read books wherever you want, whether it’s in high sunlight areas outdoors or in your living room. The Kindle Store now has 620,000 books, including 108 of 111 New York Times bestsellers at $9.99 or less. More than 200,000 books have been added in the last six months.

The Kindle DX has a graphite case. You can download new content via the 3G network in less than 60 seconds. The device lasts for a week on a battery charge with wireless turned on. It’s about a third of an inch thick and can carry 3,500 books. It also has Twitter and Facebook integration. You can zoom in on small print with the new DX.

The older Amazon Kindle with a six-inch screen sells for $189.



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PARC spinout Enable Networks raises $3.2M

June 30th, 2010 No comments

Enable Networks, a telecom spinout from the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), has raised $3.2 million in equity, according to a filing with the SEC. Led by CEO Jeff Abramowitz, a former entrepreneur in residence at PARC, the startup has not publicly announced its product.



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Mega Man plus spikes equals humor

June 30th, 2010 No comments

Mega Man plus spikes equals humor screenshot

I don't care who you are or what your religion is (one can make a pretty good case for the Holy Trinity existing in Mega Man, by the by; in Light we pray), it's always funny to watch the Blue Bomber interact with spikes. Unless you're the one trying to get him across them, that is.

Here's a charmingly animated video in which Mega Man does just what I have described. He interacts with spikes. And then he winds up in Texas somehow and calls to mind a racial slur that I had completely forgotten about and will not repeat here because it's stupid. But then he meets Sheep Man and all bets are pretty much off.

Amusing stuff. Have a watch.

Megaman: A Mega Man [Bitmob via Capcom-Unity]

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Freemium WoW is not something Blizzard is ‘spending a lot of time thinking about’

June 30th, 2010 No comments
While you may think your friends at Joystiq are only on the prowl for the hottest gaming scoops, we want you to know that's not true ... we also monitor the fabric of the universe for any tears that might upset its delicate balance. Do not panic, but World of Warcraft's lead designer, Tom Chilton, mentioned to PC Gamer that "at some point, it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee." Now, pause and savor the moment, because it's fleeting.

Before you decide whether to buy a loaf of real bread or another month's subscription, listen to the remainder of Chilton's thought: "We're not spending a lot of time thinking about it. It's not something that's a reality for us in the near future."

When the fateful day comes that WoW can make more money as a freemium title than an MMO with a monthly subscription, we're sure it'll take that path. MMO expert Elizabeth Harper, high mistress of WoW.com, tells Joystiq, "Free to play is the future of MMOs. We're seeing Turbine push their games to the free-to-play model and becoming more profitable because of it. Life or death for an MMO is all in subscriber numbers -- free to play lowers the initial barrier to entry and opens up more opportunities for players to give you money."

JoystiqFreemium WoW is not something Blizzard is 'spending a lot of time thinking about' originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 01 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ApaceWave gets $7.8M for WiMAX hardware

June 30th, 2010 No comments

ApaceWave Technologies has raised $7.8 million of an expected $10 million in equity, according to a filing with the SEC. The startup makes hardware for the WiMAX industry. Venrock, DCM and Chinese fund WK Technology are investors in the Fremont, Calif.-based company. ApaceWave, which serves broadband service providers, previously raised $12 million in funding.

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Lookout hits a million users for its smartphone security app

June 30th, 2010 No comments

Mobile security firm Lookout is announcing today that it has gotten more than a million registered users in the past six months for its smartphone security app.

The San Francisco-based company says the rapid growth of the free app is due to rising concerns about mobile security threats. As smartphones become more popular and more like connected computers, malware creators are following the crowds and creating malicious software that can disable cell phones, steal personal information, or directly steal money from users.

Lookout is available across the BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile platforms (with more platforms to be added in the future). It provides antivirus, data backup, recovery, and lost phone protection for users. John Hering, chief executive of the company, said that it’s increasingly common for malware writers to embed malicious code in games and then upload them to free app web sites across the web. Users download them, play the games, and then find a day or two later that the code activates and makes a bunch of phone calls to Somalia. That malware, dubbed “From Russia With Love,” targeted a popular game called 3D Anti-Terrorist, and it resulted in huge mobile phone bills for the victims.

Who is responsible for those charges is an open question. If your credit card number is stolen, banks will reverse any charges made by the thief as long as you stop it within 30 days. No such guarantees are in place in the mobile world. Hering said that tens of thousands of variants of malware are being launched each year, and the numbers are growing at fast rates. By comparison, millions of attacks are launched at computers each year.

But computer-focused antivirus vendors Symantec and McAfee are waking up to the problem. In May, McAfee bought mobile security provider Trust Digital for an undisclosed price. Lookout focuses on protecting users without using too much battery life or processing power, Hering said.

“We found that the desktop antivirus approach does not map very well to smartphones because of battery life and processing power,” Hering said.

Lookout is a cloud-based service with a thin client that is optimized for battery life. It scans when you download an app and immediately tells you if there is something wrong with the app.

In the past six months, Lookout has seen the number of malware and spyware threats per 100 phones double to nine in 100 affected per year. Lookout has found more than 130,000 lost or stolen phones, backed up 87 million photos, and backed up 300 million contacts.

About 80 percent of the users are on Android and BlackBerry phones, while 70 percent are in the U.S. Lookout’s investors include Khosla Ventures, Trilogy Equity Partners and Accel Partners. The company’s researchers are giving talks at the Black Hat and Defcon security conferences later this month in Las Vegas. Mobile security is becoming a bigger part of the agenda at security conferences.

The company was founded in 2007 and has 20 employees. To date, Lookout has raised $16.5 million in two rounds. Hering said a premium version of the free app will come out in the third quarter.


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More Medal of Honor beta invites for PC and PS3 are out

June 30th, 2010 No comments

More Medal of Honor beta invites for PC and PS3 are out screenshot

Electronic Arts has announced today that they're sending out the second wave of invitations to join the Medal of Honor beta for PC and PS3. If you signed up at the EA Gun Club site, you should probably start checking your inbox to see if you've been accepted into the fun.

What if you're an Xbox 360 user who has been waiting patiently for the last two weeks while other people were able to have a great time killing one another? Keep waiting. There's still no update on when the 360 beta will be opening up, but EA assures us that they're working on getting it out there.

I played a round of this at E3 and, while I sometimes have a hard time telling one military-themed shooter from another, I had a good time with it. Who's been playing? Any impressions you'd like to share with the class?

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